The Call

This immediately follows Mav and John after the between the prompt post of “Phonebook” (posted yesterday), in case you want to read it in order. If you want to start from the very beginning, you can read all but this post at Mav’s Story.

* * *

I inhaled, ready to launch into my prepared speech. “Dan-“

“You’ve reached Daniel Lee, Attorney for the Reisling Corporation. Please leave a message.”

The ten seconds between his “hello” and the beep short circuited my brain, and my mind went blank.

“Um. Hi. It’s Madison. Are you there?” I stalled, waiting for the words to return before my ninety seconds of allotted time ended.

Movement caught my eye. John straightened from where he’d been leaning against the sink, his body poised to swoop in and eliminate the breathing room I’d asked for.

It lit the proverbial fire under my ass, and the words just tumbled out.

“Okay, you either aren’t home or you’re sleeping off jet lag and you’ve always said you hate it when I hedge so here it is. I’m having what a life crisis. I’ve been pretending for years to be this poised and perfect woman, but I’m fucked up inside. Life is too damn short to waste it being a stranger to myself.”

The truth in my words startled me, and once the floodgate cracked open I couldn’t stop.

“I went to a funeral last week when you were in Hong Kong. I didn’t want to say anything, but-“ I glanced at John, “It was for John and it messed me up. Then Amanda’s dad got sick….”

I crossed my fingers on my left hand as I spoke, regretting the lie. “I need time away from everything and everyone so I can discover who I am. I can’t-“ I took another deep breath. “I can’t be with you, Danny. It wouldn’t be right. I don’t…. I don’t love you. I don’t want to hurt you either, but if we stayed together, I would.”

The knot of guilt untied itself from my gut. I picked up the pace, knowing my time was almost up.

“It’s not your fault, it’s mine. I had my heart broken years before I met you and I never let it heal. I let anger take control. I know you probably want to argue your case, but you can’t. Until I put myself back together, I have nothing to give.”

I blinked, trying not to cry. “Don’t call me. I lost my cell and don’t plan on replacing it. I need time without any interruptions. Even Amanda won’t know how to reach me. Good-bye.”

I flipped the phone closed before bursting into tears.

“Mav, I-“

“Shut. Up. Just shut the fuck up and I’ll make the last call,” I said between sobs.

He moved toward me, leaving the kitchen.

“No! Stay away! This is your fault!”

“I know.” His voice was almost a whisper.

“No you don’t, John!” My fury silenced the sobs. “Even I didn’t realize it until now. You broke me. You fucking broke me and turned me into my father!”

“Mav, I-“

“Don’t fucking “Mav” me and let me finish.”

His lips tightened and he nodded.

“I tried to love Danny, but you were always in my head, reminding me how much it fucking hurt to have your heart stabbed. I couldn’t risk it again.”

“Can I speak?”

“No! Do you have any fucking clue what it did to me when you disappeared without a good-bye? You found the appointment card, but you felt I owed you an explanation? Don’t you think you owed me the fucking courtesy to ask me about it or at least tell me good-bye?”


“I’ve known since my mother’s 46th birthday where my father kept his gun.  You’d been gone a month without a word and I wanted to die.”

* * *

This week we’d like you to explore romantic heartbreak. For you fiction writers, here’s a chance to really delve into the psyche of your character. For you non-fiction folk, well, maybe it’s into your psyche you must delve. We all remember that first love, just like we all remember when our hearts broke for the first time.

Write a piece – 600 word limit – about the first heartbreak your character or you experienced.

* * *

This piece immediately follows “Phonebook”.

Concrit is welcomed as always.

I apologize if there are typos – I’m too tired to correct them tonight.





About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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17 Responses to The Call

  1. Anastasia says:

    Great post, got sucked in right away and want to read more.

  2. Ash says:

    Look at you! Shazam. Why her mother’s 46th birthday? More please.

  3. angela says:

    I like this, because it shows how much John hurt her and screwed things up for her future relationships.

    One thing that kind of jarred me was his incoming message. I feel like that would be something he would say on an office phone or some sort of voice mail, not a home answering machine, so Mav talking about him not being home or sleeping didn’t seem to fit. Just a little thing!

  4. Galit Breen says:

    Oh her poor heart. I feel for her, and him- all of them really.

    I loved the phrase “to have your heart stabbed” because yowsa does it ever feel just like that!

  5. Pingback: Phonebook | Writing with Chaos

  6. The message she left was great; it really caught me. I like how this illustrates both sides of heartbreak. Until the later part, I thought it was all about GIVING heartbreak, which is a nice variant on the theme.

    The second half didn’t work as well as the first for me. It got a little info-heavy, as if we’re getting a lot of backstory, and the “f”‘s got kind of overpowering.

    A very interesting snippet!

  7. Sara says:

    This was a fast read and your dialogue was very good. It’s not easy to do fast dialogue when someone’s speaking to an answering machine.

    Is this a continuation of a character? I was a bit confused about John and the funeral.

    Even so, you grabbed my heart with this story. Like others, I thought you did an excellent job of showing both sides. I do feel for Daniel getting this in phone email.

    Like others said, you made me want to know more….:~)

  8. Nancy C says:

    One thing I love about your writing is that the emotions are clean without being overwrought. The anger always seems genuine and appropriate.

    I love how you use this event as a catalyst for Mav to lay into John. Because he certainly has it coming!

  9. julie Moore says:

    you write anger well. it’s so believable. I feel for her and it’s so obvious how hurt she is. I hate it when I don’t get closure and I’m glad she was at least trying to get some. Good take on the prompt.

  10. Kir says:

    Ooh Mav is so broken, so fragile, wanting to be loved so much. I felt her anger, rage betrayal and the last sentence..her confession of wanting to just die without him hits the reader like a punch to the stomach. Well done!!!!

  11. Erin says:

    I know that feeling all too well. Leaving your heart with someone else. Perfectly written!

  12. Frelle says:

    I agree with Kir and Erin, the emotion is palpable in this one, starting with the fear and the spilling out of words on the voicemail to her now-ex boyfriend.

    THEN.. I love how she defends herself and goes off on him and forces him to shut up and listen. The realization that washes over her as she speaks, and how vulnerably she confesses how broken she was by him even in her anger. This is an amazing scene, one of my favorites so far between them.

  13. CDG says:

    This whole thing read like an ugly cry. It was great, you can feel her coming unwound. I had a little trouble with the last exchange, it feels a little sudden and out of the blue, but it’s also possible that I’ve missed a piece of the story somewhere.

  14. TheMHalf says:

    I am completely hooked. And it’s funny that your blog’s tagline and mine are so similar. 😉

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